Euro woes boost SEK. Michael J. Fox named Honorary Doctor by Karolinska. 5 new clinical research schools. Cyber-dead burials. Sweden – 50 years away from shared parental leave. US firm makes Swedish BioMass Boilers. Top Social Democrats use rut deduction. Godless spirituality. Royal war?-The Swedish Republican Association (Republikanska Föreningen) has become more active.
Euro woes boost SEK.
While Greek and other Mediterranean Euro countries' deficits were pulling down the worth of the Euro against international currencies, the Swedish Crown saw its best notations in worth in more than a year. At this point in time, Sweden’s stock and bond markets are also outperforming their European peers, although market analysts report that individuals are more hesitant and cautious about investing their savings in stocks and funds than in previous years.
Michael J. Fox named Honorary Doctor by Karolinska.
Sweden's Karolinska institute gives an honorary degree of medicine to the Canadian-American actor for his work to raise funds and awareness for Parkinson's disease. According to the Institute, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research has over the last ten years given more than $175 million to research aimed at developing drugs against the disease. Fox, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1991, receives the doctorate in a ceremony in New York City tonight.
According to a release from Karoliska, Honorary doctorates at the Institute are awarded to academics who have made a significant contribution, scientific or otherwise, to research at the university, and to people who have not earned a PhD through formal academic achievements, but who have nonetheless benefited research and development through other means.
More info about Karolinska,see www.ki.se
and about the Michael J Fox foundation, see www.michaeljfox.org
"I'm grateful to the Board of Research for this tremendous honour," says Michael J. Fox. "It's especially meaningful because our Foundation and Karolinska Institutet share a belief in the power of scientific endeavour to create a future that is better for everyone, and a commitment to act strategically - even unconventionally - to help bring that future closer."
5 new clinical research schools.
A threatening shortage of clinical researchers, predicted in a report from Professor Olle Stendahl, has resulted in five clinical graduate schools being founded in Göteborg, Linköping, Umeå and Stockholm. These have been granted SEK15 million apiece over a five year period. Two will be located in Stockholm. Because the current generation is nearing retirement, the Swedish government is hoping to secure the regeneration of clinical researchers with the help of these new graduate schools. Stendahl's report recommends recruitment of doctors and clinical staff such as nurses, occupational therapists and physiotherapists to the new postgraduate schools.
Without passwords, surviving relatives are powerless to erase photos, blogs, accounts and identities of persons who have died. A new web service from Sweden called “Webwill” will rinse the Internet presence of deceased users instead of leaving them in a digital purgatory on sites like like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or other social and email networks. Developed as a thesis work in advertising and graphic design by Lisa Granberg, a student at Beckman's College of Design, Webwill allows persons with accounts to determine what will happen with their remaining Internet presences after their demise. Then, after an official death certificate is registered, the Webwill service executes their requests.
Sweden – 50 years away from shared parental leave.
And you thought of Sweden as a paradise when it comes to issues like gender equality. Well, at the pace things are moving, it will be some 51 years until the parental leave is shared equally between the sexes, according to TCO’s annual so-called “pappaindex”. A slightly better prognosis then the one from last year, which predicted it’d take 52 years to reach shared parental leave. Last year Swedish dads took out 22% of all parental leave days. If the leave had been shared equally between moms and dads, the index would have come to 100, last year it was 39, and the year before that it was 37.8. Västerbotten had the best index with 46.4, followed by Uppsala at 44.5. Skåne had the worst index with 34.4 and only slightly better was Värmland with 36.8. Said TCO chairperson Sture Nordh about the fact that many dads don’t take out any parental leave days whatsoever: “This will make us think a little bit more.” TCO is short for Tjänstemännens Centralorganisation (The Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees) and is a national trade union center.
Most Swedish seniors have cells.
Swedish elderly are at the forefront of the technology's use in comparison with European counterparts, according to a survey commissioned by Doro, a cell phone company catering to senior citizens. Nearly all Swedish over 65 own and use a cellular phone in comparison to around 77% of British seniors, 74% of Americans and 72% of Germans. In Sweden, nearly 90% of people 65-74 own a cellular phone, while some 2/3 of the oldest senior citizens have one. French seniors who own mobile phones use them most. In the past two weeks, 96% of the French have taken or made a call, 85% in the USA, 81% in Sweden and 73% in Britain and Germany.
US firm makes Swedish BioMass Boilers.
A boiler unit from ABioNova of Gothenburg that can utilize a variety of biomass fuels will be manufactured in the USA by a Wisconsin company, according to Per Carlsson, representing the Scandinavian Cleantech Exports Association and general manager of AbioNova. During a recent visit to Minnesota, Carlsson announced that one of the biomass boilers that ABioNova builds is getting its first test evaluations in the United States at an environmental learning center.
Top Social Democrats use rut deduction.
The so-called “rutavdraget” (rut deduction) is a hot potato in Swedish politics. Social democrats and the green party want to abolish the deduction, which is a system that means tax relief for those who utilize household services. But when taking a closer look at who exactly uses the rut deduction, many top Social democrats are found “guilty”. Says Social Democratic politician Ylva Johansson, former Minister for Health and Elderly Care: “It is wrong to give someone like me a tax reduction. I can afford it anyway. Ylva Johansson and her husband Erik Åsbrink, former Minister of Finances, bought household services for close to 50 000 SEK ($6,948) in 2008. And they are not alone. Other top social democrats who have utilized the rut deduction include Leif Pagrotsky, Jan Eliasson and Göran Persson. Mona Sahlin has strongly criticized the deduction claiming it’s only for those who already have a lot of money. She defends those red and green politicians who use it, however, saying it would be absurd to expect anything else. Josefin Brink, spokesperson for the Left Party, is also critical: “ This only proves that the rut deduction is a perk only for the rich. And it also adds to the general lack of faith in politicians.” A majority of the Swedish people – 66% – wants to keep the deduction.
Can you be spiritual without believing in God? Well, not only can you but a lot of people are. It is, in fact, a global movement. Svenska Dagbladet met with Bo Ahrenfelt, a psychiatrist who sees therapy and meditation as a path to the divine. He sees himself as a member of a global family who happens to live in a small town in Småland. He is a believer who never thinks nor talks about God. A rational scientist who is convinced you find the most important answers within yourself. Antoon Geels, professor at Lund University, is doing his research on people like Bo, people who are representatives of a new and growing phenomenon: Spirituality or “glocal” spirituality. But Geels doesn’t really want to use the Swedish word for spirituality (andlighet) at all. “It’s too loaded. As soon as you hear that word, you make associations to institutionalized religion, especially Christianity. I’d rather use the English word ‘spiritual’.” According to Geels this new spirituality is a change in the culture, a movement in time. People like Bo don’t want to be associated with any religion in particular, they view all the religions of the world as a database from which they gather material to their own very personal view of life and method for spiritual development. A “spiritual” person can have multiple teachers but is always suspicious of authorities and hierarchies. Most important are one’s own spiritual experiences. What about “glocal”? What on earth is that? It’s a word made up of two words: “local” and “global”. According to Geels, it is important for spiritual people like Bo to at once care about the entire world while still being anchored in what is going on locally. Bo Ahrenfelt found a book on Zen Buddhism as a young teenager. “It’s as if that book came to me, and thanks to it, I began to meditate.” Bo says that the passion in his life is Consciousness. “For me, that’s true spirituality. Our consciousness is greater than our physical bodies. Through it we are all connected and by working on and exploring our consciousness, we can experience happiness and love and a dimension that’s beyond the time and place that otherwise limit us so.” According to Bo we’re all connected, whether we’re people, animals or plants. The closeness to something greater, is something he has a hard time explaining. Finally he remembers a quote from Meister Eckhart: “The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me.” Meister Eckhart (1260-1328) was a German mystic, theologian and philosopher.
Three out of four Swedes feel Sweden should keep the monarchy and are happily looking forward to Crown Princess’ Victoria’s wedding this summer. But for those who don’t? Headed by politician (Christian Democrat) Peter Althin, the Swedish Republican Association (Republikanska Föreningen) is a politically and religiously independent association that promotes the introduction of a republic government by democratic means. During a recent conference in the Bååtska rummet in Gamla Stan, Althin greeted the members with the following: “We have a chance, a great chance, perhaps greater than ever, to get our message out that a hereditary monarchy does not belong in a modern society.” Althin and the members of the Republican Association are quick to point out that it is the principals, not the actual people, they find offensive. “It’s wonderful to see people getting married, people who are happy,” Althin said about Victoria’s upcoming wedding. But that didn’t prevent the association from taking out a full-page ad that featured a frog with a prince crown and which bore the title: “Seven years of kisses don’t make a prince.” The association is also planning an international conference during the same weekend as the wedding (June 19-20) and are inviting members from republican associations from all over Europe. “It is not to disrupt the happiness,” Althin says. “It is just to show that there are alternative voices and opinions out there.” Patrik Åkesson, chairman of the Royalistic Association (Rojalistiska föreningen) obviously does not agree: “It is not surprising that they do this, but it is distasteful and untactical. They will not be successful during such a joyful weekend.” The Royalistic Association is not planning any major events during the wedding weekend, apart from a mingle party. Åkesson says he and the rest of the members are rejoicing at Victoria’s and Daniel’s wedding. www.repf.se